In the Middle of the Night

When we are awake in the middle of the night, we're often really awake; on High Alert: distressed, uneasy, and wondering what the heck is going on.

The Scripture

Psalm 148
as retold by Deborah

Praise God! Praise God from the heavens;
praise God in the heights!
Praise God, all heavenly angels;
praise God, all divine citizens!
Praise, sun and moon;
praise God, all you shining stars!
Praise God, you celestial spheres,
and all you heavens above!

Let them praise God's holy name,
the One whose word gave them life.
The One who was there at the beginning,
who brought them into being,
with beauty and holy purpose.

Praise God all the earth,
you sea creatures and all waters,
every ocean, river, lake, and stream;
lightning and thunder,
hail, snow, frost, and sleet,
gale winds, sand storms,
and gentle breezes
give praise
by fulfilling God's command.

Mountains and hills,
valleys and glens,
frozen peaks and green valleys,
vineyards and orchards,
deserts and forests
give praise!

Wild beasts and farm animals,
dogs and cats and birds and bees,
bats and rats and horses and hippos,
all that swims and flies
and walks and creeps and crawls
give praise!

Rulers and servants,
princes and paupers,
rich and poor,
women and men,
young and old
all together
give praise!

Let them praise God's holy name,
the One whose word gave them life.
The One who was there at the beginning,
who brought them into being,
with beauty and holy purpose.

Let them praise God’s holy name,
in all they say and do,
let them praise God’s holy name
by living with beauty and holy purpose,
let their praise reach across the earth
and shine forth to the highest heavens.

God has lifted us up
with grace and power,
giving us strength
and cause for rejoicing.
Let all God’s people,
praise God!


Photo of a flower

at 3 a.m. by Deborah Beach Giordano

Wide Awake at 3 a.m.

God, have mercy on me!

      It’s 3 a.m.
                  and here I am:
      wide awake,
            lying here
                  tossing and turning
      and twitching
                        As if I’ve been bitten
                          by bedbugs.


      Bedbugs...      Holy cow.
            What if there ARE bedbugs?
                  I’d have to
                        have the whole place fumigated,
                        and burn the mattress
                  and the pillows,
                  and buy all new sheets.
                        And what if people found out?
                              They’d think my house
                              was filthy
                  or I was one of those crazy folks
            with rooms filled
                  with garbage they’ve hoarded;
      and the Health Department
      would come
          and post
                  a Big Yellow Sign
            on the front door...


Stop. Stop. Stop.
Wait a minute.
There are no bedbugs,
that’s crazy;
I don’t even itch,
I’m just nervous
and tense ..
because I can’t sleep
and it’s
3:12 in the morning
and if I don’t get some sleep
it will be time to get up
and I won’t have slept
and I’ll be so tired
that I won’t be able
to do my job
or think straight,
and when you’re tired
your reflexes are slower:
I could trip and fall
and break a leg,
or get in an accident,
and then my insurance rates
would go up,
and I might be off work ...
or on disability,
and not be able
to pay my bills
and end up
living under a bridge
in a cardboard box
and ...
it’s 3:18 a.m.

      Stop. Stop. Stop.
            Wait a minute.
                    None of that
                    is going to happen;
                              it’s crazy to lay here
                              imagining such things.
                        Maybe that’s it —
                              maybe I’m crazy;
                          maybe I’m cracking up
                      because I haven’t had
              any sleep


                        Maybe they’ll come
                        and haul me away
                        in a straight jacket.
                              And then
                                  there would be
                                      no one
                                            to feed the dog.


It’s 3:23 a.m.
and I
am still awake


                  I have to stop.
                  And get a grip.
            I’m not crazy,
            just tired;
                  I won’t fall downstairs
                  or run a stop sign;
            there are no bedbugs,
            no men in white jackets
            waiting to take me away,
                        there’s only me
                        lying here
                        freaking out
                        because I haven’t slept
                        again ...


and there’s You, God.
You ARE out there,
to my monologue,
as I flop around
like a trout
reeled into a canoe.


You were a great one
for hanging out
with fishermen;
how about having
some mercy
on this poor fish?


      That’s how I feel, Lord:
            like a fish
              out of water —
          and struggling;
                  my thoughts


Why am I awake
at a quarter to four
in the morning?

Have you caught me,
Divine Fisherman,
in order to release me
into a place
of deep and silent
midnight blue waters
where other
sleepless souls
are swimming?

For if I do not sleep,
I can pray;
I can keep watch
as the darkness turns
to light;
remembering all those
who, like me,
cannot find rest
throughout the long night;
my sisters and brothers
who wait and watch
and worry.
My heart goes out to them,
my unknown, unnamed kin.


Comfort them,
O Tender Friend,
with the knowledge
that they are not alone;
that You and I are with them,
fill their souls with hope,
strengthen their spirits,
so that they
will join
with me
in singing
Your praises.
Because You
cared enough
to keep me awake
until 3 a.m.


Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah +

Recommended Spiritual Practice

When you can’t get to sleep, or find yourself awake in the middle of the night, don’t consider it a problem, but an opportunity: a holy gift. You’ve been given a time for quiet, undisturbed prayer and reflection.

Note: Matins (Orthros in Greek and Russian Orthodox traditions) is a liturgy/prayer service held in the very early morning hours, following the midnight vigil. It often concludes at sunrise.

Note 2: A pattern of sleepless nights should be discussed with your health care professional.